Jun 7, 2006

Celebrate the destruction of Osirak

Israel bombed Saddam Hussein's nuclear plant 25 years ago today.
Early in the afternoon 25 years ago today, eight first-rate pilots took off from a base in the Sinai. Among them was Ilan Ramon, who later became an astronaut and was killed in the Columbia shuttle disaster. To avoid radar detection their F-16s flew just a hundred feet above the deserts of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The jets reached Osirak while Iraqi antiaircraft gunners and surface-to-air missile operators were eating dinner. They flattened the reactor’s large dome and destroyed its complex machinery. At least eight people were killed, including a French advisor. The pilots then sped back home without taking a single round of antiaircraft fire. The raid was so sudden and successful that for days few believed it had actually happened.

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